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Ian Boyne | The shame of 'Zimbabwe'

Published:Friday | August 11, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The Comrades in 'Zimbabwe' (Arnett Gardens) should be ashamed of themselves that it took a Labourite (in this case, the prime minister) to mount a rescue mission into their community to protect one of their own after one of her daughters was savagely murdered and another barely escaped death.

While they were noisily and boisterously defending their community's supposedly good name and reputation, their silence was deafening with regard to a real, living, flesh-and-blood human being in their midst going through unimaginable grief and pain. Defend amorphous community 'honour' while defaming a grieving mother's name. How far we have come from the 1970s when Michael Manley used to declare, "Socialism is love", "the word is love". Both socialism and love are now apparently interred with Manley.

It was the prime minister who had to go into that Jungle to declare that "the real test of the society" and I daresay community - "is how we treat the vulnerable. We appeal to the community to look at the victim as well. Someone has lost their life and another youngster is battling for life now. The mother is torn up ... . We all have to come together and draw a line in the sand. And those who are with the criminals should recognise that criminals are no respecter of life. they will turn on you one day."


Charismatic politics


Those words mean nothing to people who are political cultists. They only think group, tribe - not the individual. I have spent decades studying religious cults and the phenomenon of cultism and mind control. The Jim Jones Massacre in 1978 only deepened my studies. Caribbean charismatic politics is a species of cultism. Cult experts will recognise the same features.

When I saw that headline quote from one Brown Burke delegate in the recent St Andrew South West constituency who said, "Whoever Mama P seh, a that we seh," it again reminded me that Jamaican charismatic personality politics mirrors religious cults. Loyalty to leader and group over principle and individuals. No strange phenomenon in Zimbabwe and certainly not limited to Comrades. The same would happen in Jamaica Labour Party garrisons. Remember the women in white who defended Dudus's honour? Their white was to exemplify Dudus's purity and angelic qualities.

Remember the West Kingston Commission Tivoli witnesses who, one after the other, said that they had never seen a gunman in Tivoli; they didn't know of Dudus as a don; and that their community was peaceful and quiet until those evil security forces invaded? Cult phenomenon. See no evil, hear no evil. The naked emperor is fully and beautifully clothed.

The irate, belligerent women yes, women cared not one hoot about that mother of Micholle Moulton. She was a non-entity. The group, the clan, the tribe is paramount. Individuals are expendable, especially individuals who dissent and bring bad name on the tribe. They must be excoriated, disfellowshipped, excommunicated, banned, displaced. They might as well go into the arms of a Labourite, for they are traitors anyway. Happy riddance, mother! Don't come back! Leave us and our good name!

Our politicians created this phenomenon. They bequeathed that for our independence. That is part of their legacy. Happy Jamaica 55! They created garrisons, where their rule would be not only maintained, but enforced. And that rule is enforced not just through the gun, but through the brainwashing of ordinary citizens mothers and young girls who will come out at the drop of a hat to demonstrate for the 'good name' of the tribe. How dare anyone speak ill of anyone in our sacred tribe! Death before dishonour!

As the Observer quoted one community defender as saying ominously with regard to the rumour that Micholle was murdered for sex, "Whoever give out that information, something should be done about it ... ." Eeh-eeh now. Good thing Prime Minister acted fast.

But in one of the biggest of ironies, one community member made an unforgettable statement whose honour-conferring status you must judge.

Adducing circumstantial evidence that her community men would not need to rape young Micholle, she said of Zimbabwe women, "Too many loose girls around here for someone to target them (the two girls shot)." Now hear this. Read it more than once. "Dem gyal yah nuh wear clothes. There is no need to rape. All men have to say to some of them is 'ruu!' and dem say 'yes'". Especially if they can get fast food or a Marlon special, which is a $150 chicken back meal. No one roun here nuh thirsty (sex-starved) fi rape or want to send for anyone."

So gunmen might not be loose in Zimbabwe, but the girls certainly are. Man nuh haffi rape. Sex a give weh easy a Zimbabwe. Just seh "Ruu!", or, at worst, it might cost you a $150 for a Marlon special. That's a woman defending community pride and the good name of Zimbabwe (the freedom fighters of Southern Africa must be rousing from their graves to make their way to Jamaica!)

That is what Mark Golding is inheriting. I suggest that rather than worrying about the constitutionality of the zones of special operations legislation intended to prevent the murders of innocents like Micholle Moulton, he should concentrate on rescuing the minds of the loose girls and callous protesters of Zimbabwe. That's what Michael Manley spent his life fighting for going all the way to Zimbabwe, southern Africa, to fight for freedom, only to have his own Jamaican girls so trapped in poverty and degradation that they are selling themselves for a Marlon special and American fast food.


Why are they protesting then?


If those heartless protesters of Zimbabwe had any shame, they would repent in sackcloth and ashes. I cannot prove the veracity of the early media reports about that young girl being killed because of her refusal to have sex. The community residents could be right - that that is not true. But if they protested what they regarded as a falsehood while showing due regard and compassion for the mother, that would be something else.

How did they know the mother was the source of the media's story? And certainly, their protests would have incited gunmen to kill her. Oh, I forgot. There is no gunman in Zimbabwe. That's just uptown, prejudicial propaganda and stereotyping.

Uptown, middle-class, privileged journalists like me hate and despise inner-city people. In-group/outgroup psychology. Typical cultic reaction. I don't know that Micholle was killed for sex. But I do know that in garrisons, criminals and terrorists do send for girls, and their parents, in utter dread, have to suffer in silence. They are hostages in these garrisons. I continue to point out that poor people's rights are already abridged, abrogated, and infringed in these garrison communities. Criminals control those areas. These people's human rights are already trampled on. They are under curfew by criminals. Their houses are searched without the occupants' warrant. Men walk through their yards freely with big guns. There is no right to privacy.

Human rights exist only on paper for them. My daughter was never sent for where she grew up. Inner-city people must have the same rights that my daughter had when growing up. Had she been reared in one of these cultic garrisons, her life might have been snuffed out before graduating from Immaculate. I support the zones of special operations for I want to see inner-city teenagers have the same opportunity as my daughter to grow up to be whatever they want to be.

My daughter should not have any more rights than any child in any inner-city community.

The prime minister had to lecture these cultic protesters: "So, yes, you want to maintain the good name of the community, but you should also look to the suffering of the mother and the victims. I appeal to the people in the area to reach out to the victims and support and protect them, and that's how the community will reclaim its image."

A Labourite had to come in their community and tell them that. Damn shame!

- Ian Boyne is a veteran journalist working with the Jamaica Information Service. Email feedback to and